Entertainment

Alfonso Cuarón Keeps His Mexican Heritage Alive In Everything He Does, Like Oscar Greats Guillermo Del Toro And Alejandro Iñárritu

Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón comes from a rare breed of artists that achieve both commercial success and critic acclaim. With just eight feature films under his belt, Cuarón has done it all: comedy, a sexy road trip movie, a Dickens adaptation, a children’s movie, a Harry Potter film, brainy science fiction, and now an intense and beautiful memoir, Roma. Cuarón won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film and for Best Director at last night’s Golden Globes and we couldn’t be prouder. Here are 21 facts about this once wonder boy turned established auteur.

He is one of the Three Amigos.

Credit: homepage_EP_GuillermoDelToro_AlfomsoCuaron_AlejandrgoGInarrituDigital image. RoberEbert

Along with fellow Mexican directors Guillermo Del Toro and Alejandro González Iñárritu he has taken Hollywood by storm. They have all won the Oscar for Best Director.

He often collaborates with family.

Credit: father-and-son. Digital image. Latino

He co-wrote the script for Y tu mamá también with his brother Carlos. The best: he co-wrote the Oscar-winning script for Gravity with his son Jonás. Qué chingón.

He inserted Mexican elements into the world of Harry Potter.

Credit: f84b19d4c5b5962077403eb3e24451c6. Digital image. Pinterest

Yes, when he took on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban he decided to include elements such as the sugar skulls you can see in the candy shop. No better way to proudly showcase our culture in a global market.

He just loves the color green.

Credit: Sólo con tu pareja. Digital image. Instituto Mexicano de Cinematografia.

Since his debut film Sólo con tu pareja he has shown a predilection for green hues in props and sets. In Mexican film circles, they call his palette “verde Cuarón”

He keeps going back to Mexico to shoot.

Credit: Sólo con tu pareja. Digital image. Instituto Mexicano de Cinematografia.

Many expat directors in Hollywood never go back to their home to shoot a film in their mother tongue. Not the case with Cuarón, who has kept a healthy split between English and Spanish in his work. Gael Garcia Bernal is another entertainer who is using his name to better entertainment in his home country.

He is known for his elaborate long takes.

Credit: Gravity. Warner.

He is famous for offering us mind-blowing long takes that just make no sense but look miraculous. Case in point: that amazing space ballet in Gravity (see above image).

He has a close creative partnership with cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki.

Credit: emmanuel_lubezki_alfonso_cuaron. Digital image. Hollywood Reporter.

With Lubezki he has created some of the most beautiful images in recent cinema. Lubezki wasn’t available to shoot Roma so Cuarón shot it himself rather than working with someone else.

He put his career on hold to care for his autistic son.

Credit: alfonso-cuaron. Digital image. Variety.

After 2006’s Children of Men, Cuarón took a long break to properly become a cargiver for his son, who was diagnosed with autism. La familia primero.

He is part of the CUEC generation.

Credit: 1393713337_158281_1393713503_noticia_normal. Digital image. El Pais.

He studied film at the Centro Mexicano de Estudios Cinematográficos in Mexico City. This school has a very unique style influenced by European cinema.

10. He has won it all…

Credit: Giphy. @GoldenGlobes

Oscars, Golden Globes, Golden Lions… you name it. There mustn’t be a single spot available on his mantelpiece!

He is an avid cinephile and it shows.

Credit: 8 1/2. Criterion Collection.

He often includes homages to his favorite films. In Roma, there is a clear reference to Federico Fellini’s 8 1/2. 

Roma is his own life but told from a different perspective.

Credit: Roma. Netflix.

He has often said how Roma truly gave him the freedom to delve deep into his own childhood. What is amazing is that he didn’t do it from his own perspective, but rather from a gaze that was silenced because of class dynamics at the time.

He owes everything to his nanny, Libo.

Credit: alfonso-cuaron-variety-cover-story-2. Digital image. Variety.

Many middle-class Mexico City families rely heavily on domestic workers for emotional labor as well. Libo, who is now a lovely old lady, was Cuarón’s inspiration for the character of Cleo. Their relationship echoes the experience of many Mexico City natives.

He has made some of the best literary adaptations in the history of cinema.

Credit: A Little Princess. Warner Bros.

He is great at directing his own material as well as literary classics such as The Little Princess, Great Expectations, J.K. Rowling’s world and Children of Men, a sci-fi nightmare written by PD James. He has a rare talent that allows him to make the material his own while respecting the spirit of the original.

He even made Charles Dickens sexy!

Credit: Great Expectations. Fox.

Ethan Hawke painting Gwyneth Paltrow como Dios la trajo al mundo. Bring las sales right now! And that kiss by the fountain, tender and so romantic. He made Dickens be part of the 1990s grunge, emo and banal cultural zeitgeist.

He inserted a whole bunch of pop culture references in Children of Men.

Credit: Children of Men. Warner Bros.

Did you notice the Pink Floyd imagery all over apocalyptic London? Well, that is not a coincidence. Just look at this pig balloon casually parading on the background.

And even critiques to the Bush presidency.

Credit: finalabu_01. Digital image. scholarship@cc

In some of the scenes in Children of Men we can see images that clearly reference the abuses committed by the U.S. in countries like Iraq, where navy personnel took photos of prisoners while they abused them. Alfonso is a very meticulous artist and nothing in his films is aleatory.

He defends the Netflix model…

Credit: romapremiere. Digital image. Variety.

He thinks that the best way for a movie to be released is in multiple exhibition windows. He released Roma in selected cinemas and then on Netflix. Guess what? People keep watching it on the big screen!

Roma is a true one-man show.

Credit: image002_-_h_2017. Digital image. The Hollywood Reporter.

He wrote it, directed it, edited it, and shot it. Ah, and he was the producer. Esas canas se llaman Roma! To be honest, even though film production can be a nightmare he looks quite happy doing it judging from this picture, o no?

He speaks out against injustice.

Credit: 16mag-cuaron-slide-L77I-articleLarge. Digital image. The New York Times.

He uses his fame and stature among Mexican intellectual elites to speak out against crimes such as the massacre of 43 students in Ayotzinapa. In his Mexican films, he often mentions how the powerful take land from peasants, as is the case of Cleo’s mom in Roma.

His next project…..

Credit: caseyaffleckofficial / Instagram

There are not many details at the moment other than the star will be the controversial Casey Affleck…. sounds intriguing. We wonder how Cuarón will deal with the sexual harassment allegations against Affleck. We can also guess that it will be a Netflix movie and that Cuarón will continue to explore the limits of film exhibition. Venga!


READ: Alfonso Cuaron’s ‘Roma’ Took Home Two Awards At The 2019 Golden Globes

Share this story with all of your friends by tapping that little share button below!

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Mexico City Could Soon Change Its Name To Better Embrace Its Indigenous Identity

Things That Matter

Mexico City Could Soon Change Its Name To Better Embrace Its Indigenous Identity

Mexico City is the oldest surviving capital city in all of the Americas. It also is one of only two that actually served as capitals of their Indigenous communities – the other being Quito, Ecuador. But much of that incredible history is washed over in history books, tourism advertisements, and the everyday hustle and bustle of a city of 21 million people.

Recently, city residents voted on a non-binding resolution that could see the city’s name changed back to it’s pre-Hispanic origin to help shine a light on its rich Indigenous history.

Mexico City could soon be renamed in honor of its pre-Hispanic identity.

A recent poll shows that 54% of chilangos (as residents of Mexico City are called) are in favor of changing the city’s official name from Ciudad de México to México-Tenochtitlán. In contrast, 42% of respondents said they didn’t support a name change while 4% said they they didn’t know.

Conducted earlier this month as Mexico City gears up to mark the 500th anniversary of the fall of the Aztec empire capital with a series of cultural events, the poll also asked respondents if they identified more as Mexicas, as Aztec people were also known, Spanish or mestizo (mixed indigenous and Spanish blood).

Mestizo was the most popular response, with 55% of respondents saying they identified as such while 37% saw themselves more as Mexicas. Only 4% identified as Spaniards and the same percentage said they didn’t know with whom they identified most.

The poll also touched on the city’s history.

The ancient city of Tenochtitlán.

The same poll also asked people if they thought that the 500th anniversary of the Spanish conquest of Tenochtitlán by Spanish conquistadoresshould be commemorated or forgotten, 80% chose the former option while just 16% opted for the latter.

Three-quarters of respondents said they preferred areas of the the capital where colonial-era architecture predominates, such as the historic center, while 24% said that they favored zones with modern architecture.

There are also numerous examples of pre-Hispanic architecture in Mexico City including the Templo Mayor, Tlatelolco and Cuicuilco archaeological sites.

Tenochtitlán was one of the world’s most advanced cities when the Spanish arrived.

Tenochtitlán, which means “place where prickly pears abound” in Náhuatl, was founded by the Mexica people in 1325 on an island located on Lake Texcoco. The legend goes that they decided to build a city on the island because they saw the omen they were seeking: an eagle devouring a snake while perched on a nopal.

At its peak, it was the largest city in the pre-Columbian Americas. It subsequently became a cabecera of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. Today, the ruins of Tenochtitlán are in the historic center of the Mexican capital. The World Heritage Site of Xochimilco contains what remains of the geography (water, boats, floating gardens) of the Mexica capital.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Mexico Plunges 23 Places On The World Happiness Report As The Country Struggles To Bounce Back

Things That Matter

Mexico Plunges 23 Places On The World Happiness Report As The Country Struggles To Bounce Back

When it comes to international happiness rankings, Mexico has long done well in many measurements. In fact, in 2019, Mexico placed number 23 beating out every other Latin American country except for Costa Rica. But in 2020, things looks a lot different as the country slipped 23 spots on the list. What does this mean for Mexico and its residents? 

Mexico slips 23 spots on the World Happiness Report thanks to a variety of compelling factors.

Mexico plummeted 23 places to the 46th happiest nation in the world, according to the 2020 happiness rankings in the latest edition of the United Nations’ World Happiness Report. The coronavirus pandemic had a significant impact on Mexicans’ happiness in 2020, the new report indicates.

“Covid-19 has shaken, taken, and reshaped lives everywhere,” the report noted, and that is especially true in Mexico, where almost 200,000 people have lost their lives to the disease and millions lost their jobs last year as the economy recorded its worst downturn since the Great Depression.

Based on results of the Gallup World Poll as well as an analysis of data related to the happiness impacts of Covid-19, Mexico’s score on the World Happiness Report index was 5.96, an 8% slump compared to its average score between 2017 and 2019 when its average ranking was 23rd.

The only nations that dropped more than Mexico – the worst country to be in during the pandemic, according to an analysis by the Bloomberg news agency – were El Salvador, the Philippines and Benin.

Mexico has struggled especially hard against the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Since the pandemic started, Mexico has fared far worse than many other countries across Latin America. Today, there are reports that Mexico has been undercounting and underreporting both the number of confirmed cases and the number of deaths. Given this reality, the country is 2nd worst in the world when it comes to number of suspected deaths, with more than 200,000 people dead. 

Could the happiness level have an impact on this year’s elections?

Given that Mexico’s decline in the rankings appears related to the severity of the coronavirus pandemic here, one might assume that the popularity of the federal government – which has been widely condemned for its management of the crisis from both a health and economic perspective – would take a hit.

But a poll published earlier this month found that 55.9% of respondents approved of President López Obrador’s management of the pandemic and 44% indicated that they would vote for the ruling Morena party if the election for federal deputies were held the day they were polled.

Support for Morena, which apparently got a shot in the arm from the national vaccination program even as it proceeded slowly, was more than four times higher than that for the two main opposition parties, the PAN and the PRI.

Still, Mexico’s slide in the happiness rankings could give López Obrador – who has claimed that ordinary Mexicans are happier with him in office – pause for thought.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com